What is addiction?
Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse dependency consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.

Addictions can include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, exercise abuse, sexual activity and gambling. Classic hallmarks of addiction include: impaired control over substances/behavior, preoccupation with substance/behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial.

It is characterized by the following :

  • The person continues the addictive behavior despite the consequences
  • The frequency or intensity of the behaviour increases over time
  • When the behaviour is stopped, the person experiences unpleasant feelings and emotions
What Are The Signs and Symptoms?

Signs of a possible gambling problem

  • Gambles more often
  • Gamble for longer periods of time
  • Gambles with larger amounts of money
  • Incurs debts as a result of gambling
  • Borrows money to gamble
  • Gambles in spite of negative consequences, e.g. huge losses, poor job performance, relationship problems.
  • Gambles to escape from emotional problems, worries or frustrations
  • Tells lies to hide/deny the gambling habit

Signs of a possible alcohol problem

  • Loses control over drinking
  • Feels that drinking is getting out of hand and feels the need to cut down
  • Feels annoyed when people criticize his drinking
  • Has cravings to drink in the morning, or needs alcohol to steady his nerves
  • Feels remorseful or guilty about drinking

Signs of a possible drug problem

  • Preoccupied with finding and consuming drugs
  • Finds excuses to continue using drugs, despite promises to quit
  • Conceals drug-taking behaviour, and is afraid of being discovered
  • Has health and sleep problems
  • Has frequent accidents and falls
  • Feels exhausted and depressed because of drug use

How and Whom To Seek For Help?
If you think that you or someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, recognizing the problem is the first step in getting help.

Many people think they can kick the problem on their own, but that rarely works. Find someone you trust to talk to. It may help to talk to a friend or someone your own age at first, but a supportive and understanding adult is your best option for getting help. If you can’t talk to your parents, you might want to approach a school counsellor, relative, doctor, favourite teacherUnfortunately, overcoming addiction is not easy. Quitting drugs or drinking is probably going to be one of the hardest things you or your friend have ever done. It’s not a sign of weakness if you need professional help from a trained drug counsellor or therapist. Most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program to do so.

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